Eight hours by bus, and night was on them. He could see himself now in the window, see his head there with the country running through it like a long thought made of steel and wheat. Darkness outside; darkness in the bus—as if the sea were dark and the belly of the whale were dark to match it. He was twenty: of course his eyes returned, repeatedly, to the knee of the woman two rows up: positioned so occasional headlights struck it into life. But more reliable was the book; he was discovering himself to be among the tribe that reads. Now his, the only overhead turned on. Now nothing else existed: only him, and the book, and the light thrown over his shoulders as luxuriously as a cashmere shawl.
Copyright © 2007 by Albert Goldbarth. Reprinted from The Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems with the permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota.